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Basic Questions

Nov 03, 1996 05:08 PM
by Bart Lidofsky

Art House wrote:
> Sorry Bart,

	That's OK; I will endeavor to answer, now that I understand what you
are asking.

> I'm admittedly not the best of writers.
> I was just wondering how people on this list who had heard about the
> shams of those early days might have dealt with them (if at all). It
> seems to me that through their deceptive actions the founders cast
> suspicion and doubt on much of what they were trying to do (and that's
> the optimistic view).

	When you say the shams of the early days, what shams are you talking
about? How were those shams used to justify the works? And how do you
know they WERE shams? These are NOT rhetorical questions. My interest in
Blavatsky, et al, has nothing to do with their supposed expression of
sidhe's, or the lack thereof.

> My question doesn't apply as much to the genuine, historical Hindu or
> Buddhist teachings which they helped to bring to the West. These
> teachings are more or less verifiable and HPB, et al deserve a lot of
> credit for their efforts. But in the cases where their pronouncements
> rely on the authority of the "Brotherhood of Masters" and non-historical
> texts like the "Stanzas of Dyzan", don't you think that their trickery
> throws that whole premise into question?

	It depends. When I hear "Masters", I think in terms of "Master
Craftsman" or "Master of Arts", in other words, someone who has mastered
a skill or a subject, as opposed to someone who is to be worshipped or
obeyed. There is a movement in the Society to stop using the term
"Masters" and substitute "Adepts".

> Its bad enough that these deceptions were used in establishing the
> "occult authority" of the society in the first place, but they continued
> to be used, mainly in the form of "precipitated or psychically received"
> letters to try to back up both Annie Besant and Leadbeater's claims for
> power after Mme.Blavatsky's death.

	OK, now you're talking second generation, in which case you would
probably have to include Bailey, Judge, Tingley, and others. Out of the
bunch, I find that I am most comfortable with Besant and Judge. Although
I am not terribly fond of either as people, I find that their works
speak for themselves (not unlike, for example, Aleister Crowley, or W.
A. Mozart). As far as his clairvoyance (or not) goes, let's look at an
old Jewish story.

	There was once a self-proclaimed miracle worker, who went from town to
town, performing his "deeds", and axacting a heavy fee for the
privilege. He would cure some, not cure others, but expect a fixed fee
per town, regardless. A rabbi was sent to see whether or not the miracle
worker was genuine.
	The miracle worker was in the center of town, with the line of sick
people in front of him. The next person on line said, "I've been blind
since birth! Can you cure me?"

	"Of course I can cure you", said the miracle worker. "May God enable
this man to see!"

	And the man suddenly started looking around, and said, "It's a miracle!
I can see! I can see!"

	The rabbi then walked up, and held a red cloth in front of the
previously blind man. "If you can see", said the rabbi, "Tell me what
color this cloth is!"

	The man looked at the cloth, and said, "It's red!", and the crowd
gasped in amazement.	

	"But if you were blind since birth", asked the rabbi, "then how could
you possibly know what the color red is? We are not born knowing the
color red! It has to be taught!"

	The crowd questioned the blind man, found that he was a partner of the
so-called miracle worker, and drove them both out of town.

	Now, let's get back to Leadbeater. Let's say that he DID have some
clairvoyant abilities.  But who was around to teach him the color "red"?
We are not born able to see; seeing is a learned skill, starting with
bright and dark, then learning to distinguish shadows, then shapes, then
colors, then more and more details. But, if Leadbeater was clairvoyant,
the only references that he had to interpret his clairvoyant senses were
his own knowledge and beliefs. And how could he differentiate between
his extra senses and his imagination? Therefore, at best, his
revelations have to be interpreted in terms of his prejudices. And, say
what you like, he DID spot Krishnamurti among a group of other abandoned
children on a beach.

> If you folks have already discussed these "letters" and concluded that
> they were all more or less authentic, I'd really like to see the list
> records for that period.

	List records? I don't understand (sorry).

> Has anybody read a book called "Madame Blavatsky's Baboon"
> (By Peter Washington. =A91993,1995 Schocken Books Inc., New York). It's
> well-researched and seems unafraid to look at the history of the
> Society, warts and all.=20

	Unafraid, maybe. Well researched, bullshit. Peter Washington did not
write, nor did he intend to write, a scholarly work. He certainly makes
no claims of scholarly accuracy; mote that he did not submit it for
scholarly review. The very premise of the book is flawed; Spiritualism
went from the U.S. to Great Britain, NOT the other way around. The
purpose of the book was to poke fun at people who were not around to
fight back, plain and simple.

	Bart Lidofsky

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